A New Adventure

Andrea Capere

It’s almost unbelievable that in less that 48 hours I’ll be on a plane headed to a completely different country, continent, season, and hemisphere. Just yesterday I graduated from Pacific Lutheran University, following in the same steps of Edwin and the others. It is surreal to be beginning a new challenge so suddenly. I have my passport and my itinerary. I have a phone with a Namibian number and power adaptors; these are the mundanities that make it real. So, I know I’m not imagining things.


Me, hugging one of my surrogate moms after graduating. Something Edwin, Penda, and the others probably did two decades ago. Credit: Nathan Roemmich

I am so fortunate and privileged to have this opportunity, and I only hope that I can learn from their life histories and I can help to tell their story respectfully. Filmmaking has always been a love of mine, and I think it is necessary to do so with social justice at the heart of it. That is the power of documentary film that I find so arresting – the power to help make the world a little more thoughtful and contemplative.

Nothing gets me more impassioned than a meaningful story. I still remember when Joanne asked me if I wanted to be a part of this thing. She knows how to make the pitch. She makes the hardest work sound phenomenal (and it usually is!). I am not one to turn down an adventure like the one I am about to embark on. This is the stuff independent filmmakers dream of.

When I think about the obstacles that The Nine faced I know there are few stories that are more meaningful to us now than equity, education, and social change. I never faced the realities of coming of age in a newly independent country that codified laws keeping Black Namibians out of higher education. However, I am not so naive to think that the United States has not had similar legal structures in place to disadvantage those of darker skin. After all, it’s not that long ago that the Brown v. Board of Education case was heard in our Supreme Court. We still feel the aftermath of education tracking even now in this country. This is a story not only meaningful to Namibia, but all over the world.

Pre Production

All of us, at the second to last meeting before flying out. Left to Right: Joanne Lisosky, Princess Reese, Andrea Capere, Maurice Byrd. Credit: Shunying Wang

So, no pressure.

I am feeling a lot of excitement mixed with a healthy dose of self-doubt. No complex storytelling project dependent upon technological and narrative skills is devoid of that. But I do know that nothing beats a hardworking, committed, enthusiastic, and open-minded team. And my fellow filmmakers have those qualities in spades.

Here’s to 20+ hours of plane travel, jet lag, learning, and a lot of the unknown.

❤ Andrea


But… I’ve Never left the Continent!

Princess Reese

Women and Gender Studies/Anthropology Double Major

Cares about people and the place they’ve lived.

Loves sitting on grass.


To me, this is the trip of a lifetime. Up to this point my life has been full of meaning, surrounded by people and circumstances that challenge me to constantly grow. But (and big BUT, it is)  I have never been away from home in quite the same was. I spent a month traveling to American EcoVillages completely alone, made camping trips work with the just the bare essentials, wrote a business plan for a community center, and even filmed, edited, and produced  a documentary (all things I never thought I’d do before college)! But I have never left. Not this far away, and not for this long.


Going on this trip we have Ms. Melannie Cunningham,  a staff member who has visited multiple African countries nineteen times,

melannieinpink (Photo Credit: Julie L Anderson photos)

Mrs. Joanne Lisosky, a faculty member who has lived in Africa for a collective six months,


a Maurice Byrd (left) , student who served in the military and experienced several deployments, and Shunying (right), a student from China who has been in America for the entirety of her college career.


Then there’s Andrea (right)  and I, two women who have never left North America, let alone traveled 9,600 miles to Africa.


And even though we are nervous beyond our minds, the group we have is made of such resolve and grit that we know we are capable of dang near anything we want.

The stories of those nine are calling to me. They are telling me that even though we may be nervous, even though we have a lot to learn, there is much that we can do. I am waiting with bated breath to finally have those plane tickets in hand, prepared to leave the continent for the first time, knowing that we will all change in small ways. We will grow with the work we are doing, and come back with changed perspectives. Although not all of us know quite what to expect, we are ready.


Let’s get going,